Update from Fr. Warren - Planning for Return to Mass

MAY 22, 2020


Dear Parishioners,

I am writing to you today in response to the recent announcement by the Catholic Bishops of Minnesota to move ahead with plans to resume Masses at one-third church capacity beginning May 26. 

Despite having permission from the Archdiocese to return to Mass next week, we are proceeding with patience in our planning and timing for a reopening at Saint Thomas More. I understand that many of you have strong feelings in this situation, and understandably so. Let’s try to be understanding of each other and, in the Ignatian Tradition, assume the best possible interpretation of others’ points of view. Please do not let this divide our community. Know that we are doing our best to listen to your concerns and properly discern how to proceed.

I have been meeting with our pastoral council, trustees, and staff over the past several weeks to plan for a reopening of our church based on the guidance from the state and local public health officials and civil authorities and the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis. The following shared insights and desires have emerged from our discussions and are guiding us in our planning:

  • The desire to meet the spiritual needs of our parish community as a whole and as individual parishioners
  • Recognition of the strong desire to receive communion again and have in-person communal worship
  •  The desire to move ahead thoughtfully, with input from parishioners, as we journey forward to a reopening
  • The desire to stand in solidarity with the most vulnerable who have been strongly encouraged to stay home 
  • Exploration of a range of options for celebrating Mass in public and the possibility of distributing Communion outside of the Mass
  • Concerns about the safety of participating in large groups even when significant changes are made to advance sanitation protocols and social distancing
  • The importance of consulting with and following local public health directives
  • The responsibility to protect, and not exhaust, our human resources in these efforts to open quickly; We are one body, and we have a shared responsibility for one another

With the above in mind, we are hoping to begin weekday public Masses on Tuesday, June 2 (at one-fourth* capacity, following strict safety protocols). If all goes well with weekday Masses, and we feel adequately prepared, we hope to have our first public weekend Mass on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (The Body and Blood of Christ) on Sunday, June 14. Please note that this schedule is tentative. More details about our safety protocols will be forthcoming.

For the present time, we will continue to livestream our daily Masses and the Solemnities of the Ascension, Pentecost, and the Trinity (the next three weekends). Additionally, even after public Masses resume, we will continue to livestream all Masses. Again, the obligation to attend Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation is still suspended, so do not feel obliged to attend in person if you are not comfortable doing so.

A parish survey is being prepared to help ensure we hear your voice in this planning.  Please watch your email in the coming days for a link to this survey. For weekly reminders and updates, subscribe to our email newsletter which is sent out every Thursday! If you have immediate feedback, please email or call the parish office (651-227-7669).

Thank you for your continued support. We are grateful for your participation in our virtual Masses and other prayer opportunities and for continuing to do and be church for one another during this difficult time. I ask you to pray for this community. Our communal and individual prayers are powerful forces.

As always, we are open to your thoughts and suggestions as we work to be here for you.

Easter Blessings,

Fr. Warren, Pastor

* Updated from one-third to one-fourth capacity based on new directives (May 23, 2020)